PRAYER OF PASSION: “YOUR WILL BE DONE”
What does it mean to become a people of Passion?
To become a people of Passion is to have, not only the person of Jesus Christ as central in your life and thinking, but to have the cross of Christ in the core of your being.
The cross reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice.
The cross calls to us and challenges us to follow Christ.
Without the cross there is no point in being a church.
What then, is the role of prayer in becoming a people of Passion?
It’s an adjustment, a prayer to change “me”, into what God wants.
Praying this prayer means trading your passions for His Passion.
It is a willingness to surrender and to say to God, “your will be done.”
What does a prayer like that look like?
READ TEXT: Matthew 26:36-42
Here we find 4 challenges & 3 “prayer busters” in praying
“A Prayer of Passion.”
Challenge #1 - Suffering Prayer:
Jesus was a person who believed in prayer.
In the Garden that night, Jesus prayed, not because of his sorrow, but because he always prayed. What a jarring picture though, to see Jesus this way. Our text says, “He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…’”
His sorrow seemed to be multiplied by so many factors. He knew that the appointed time with the Cross had come. Jesus was the only one who could really understand the pain and suffering that seemed to go with that impending destiny. And the weight of such an unimaginable burden, carrying the sins of countless generations to the Cross, was so heavy we are told “His sweat was as drops of blood.” (Luke 22:44)
It is in this moment of painful anticipation that Jesus teaches us the necessity of prayer even when difficulties seem intolerable.
We are speechless when surgery is the next morning. Words don’t come when sadness chokes your throat and blurs your mind.
Prayer is the furthest thing from our minds when our senses are overwhelmed with anguish. But that is exactly when Jesus prayed.
Jesus prayed through the pain to His Father, on whom he depended for all things.
Prayer Buster # 1 – Self-reliance
Why don’t we pray in crisis situations?
One reason is the inherent need we have to fix the problem ourselves with our own strength and resources.
We call this self-reliance.
You have prayed before and nothing happened, so we are compelled to take matters into our own hands.
When Jesus was done praying, we read that soldiers came to arrest him.
In v. 51
Peter pulls out a sword in defense of Jesus and slices an ear off of a temple servant.
Sleeping when he should have been praying,
Peter now tries to fight a spiritual battle with a carnal weapon. That is the futility of fighting many of our battles with our own resources. We are fighting unseen forces without the help of God in prayer.
II Corinthians 10:4 (NKJV)
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
Challenge #2 - Shared Prayer:
Jesus rejected the attitude of self-reliance. That was not his way; it’s not what he taught. Even in the Garden on the night before his death, he prayed to God and asked his disciples to pray with him. “Stay here and keep watch with me…Watch and pray.”
In moments like these, Jesus teaches us the value of shared prayer.
Why do we think that we can bear our burdens alone?
If Jesus shared this most monumental prayer request with his disciples, what makes us think that we can handle our own problems alone?
Here’s my theory: Some think that advertising their problems is too proud. So they humble themselves and say nothing.
What they don’t realize is that real pride is saying nothing and that true humility is sharing your burdens with others.
True humility admits that we can’t tackle these troubles alone.
Praying for each other is what church relationships are all about.
No one who is hurting hurts alone. Even if we don’t know what’s bothering you, it affects everyone. No one can read minds, so you need to share your burden.
Prayer Buster # 2 – Time
Our second prayer buster is time. Prayer takes time itself and time is at a premium.
We don’t think prayer is worth our time. So we don’t give it time in our day.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?”
60 minutes! That’s all he asked for on the most important night of his life.
Not many events can compare with this night, but there are many crucial events in our lives that could use prayer.
What’s 60 minutes?
Challenge #3 - Repeated Prayer:
It is hard to know what Jesus prayed in the Garden aside from what is recorded:
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me…”
He may have used many more words to express the intensity he was feeling, but these words convey the heart of his prayer.
And we know that he prayed this desire three times.
There is value in repeated prayers, as we can see from Christ’s example.
I have personally had some problem with repeated prayer. My feeling was that God was not deaf the first time and he knows all things, so why bother him again with this issue?
It reminds me of the story Paul Harvey told about a 3-year-old boy who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered the grocery store she said to him, "Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask."
She put him up in the cart & he sat in the little child’s seat while she wheeled down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. He saw the chocolate chip cookies & he stood up in the seat & said, “Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?”
She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.” So he sat back down. This happened repeatedly as they went down the aisles.
Finally, they were approaching the checkout lane. The little boy sensed that this may be his last chance. So just before they got to the line, he stood up on the seat of the cart & shouted in his loudest voice,
“In the name of Jesus, may I have some chocolate chip cookies?”
And everybody round about just laughed. Some even applauded. And, according to Paul Harvey, due to the generosity of the other shoppers, the little boy & his mother left with 23 boxes of chocolate chip cookies....
The lesson we take from this isn’t - if we badger God long enough he will give us what we want. Still, Jesus does teach that we should be persistent in prayer.
He told the story of a persistent widow in Luke 18 who pestered a judge to grant her justice in her dispute with another person. The judge grew tired of her constant nagging and finally gave her what she wanted.
God does care; he does listen. Jesus said, “…will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:6)
What then is the purpose of repeated prayer? It shows God that we mean business.
That is a true “heartfelt prayer”
It is all too easy, too shallow, and too cheap to pray and then walk away and think no more about it.
To keep on praying indicates determination on our part and confidence that God is able to do his part.
Prayer Buster # 3 – Apathy
The problem we often feel with repeated prayers is that we pray and pray and receive no answer. We put a lot of time, we feel, into crying out to God; we worry over our problem and feel like God isn’t; and we just feel empty.
Why pray if we do not get the answer we want – or any answer for that matter?
Maybe we grow so weary we just don’t believe in the so-called “power of prayer.” Apathy like this can be very defeating for your faith and for you as a person.
Each time Jesus came to check on his disciples he found them sleeping.
How do you sleep on a night like that? They were not aware of the battle taking place. These men were not spiritually in tune with the issues and dangers Jesus was facing.
Challenge #4 - Unanswered Prayer:
There is no verse to quote on this point.
It is a glaring vacancy that stabs in the gut to see that God does not answer Jesus’ repeated prayer.
**What do you do when God says nothing at all?
**Here we learn about the mystery of unanswered prayer.
Jesus prayed repeatedly “Take this cup away” and always ended with “let your will be done.”
- It’s a hard thing to say “your will be done.”
- It’s hard because we want our will to be done.
- We want our prayers answered in our way, in our timing.
Does God refuse to answer you and me when we cry out to him?
Is it that our faith is not enough? Have we sinned and that is why God does not answer?
Michael Green wrote a great answer to this question: “The prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane shows that we can be close to God, live a holy life, and pray with faith, earnestness, and expectancy, and yet not get what we ask for. It is a profound mystery before which we must bow.”
We bow before this mystery of unanswered prayer by saying to our loving God “your will be done.”
We cannot know the mind of God, his great plans, or how he will work out our present troubles for his glory. All we can say in faith is “your will be done.”
Prayer is not about manipulating God to our will – it is opening up to God and trusting that whatever pain we go through in the process, he is there with us.
Richard Foster, in his book “Celebration of Discipline” says
“To pray is to change.”
Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us.
The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ….
…James says: ‘You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions’ (James 4:3).
In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God’s thoughts after Him: to desire the things He desires, to love the things He loves.
Can you not pray one hour?
Jesus asked his disciples to pray this one night.
To challenge you to pray one hour each day will seem to some of you a legalistic “guilt” command.
I don’t want it to be that.
I know that for various reasons, prayer is a difficult chore.
Perhaps you could plan 6 – 10 minute sessions throughout the day where you could pray.
Take each segment and pray for family, then friends you know.
You need to decide how you are going to do this.
Perhaps a “helpful tool”
(See 5 Finger Prayer)
“Five Finger Prayer Blessing”
A tool for praying for others:
Thumb: Relationship w/ Father God
(Thumb covers all)
(Points to the future)
Pinky: Physical healing (Vulnerability)
If we want to become a people of His Passion, we have to learn to deny ourselves and pray “your will be done.”
Prayer is not a waste of time;
it is an appointment with the King of kings.
Play -- Video clip “Thy Will”